If you follow Brett Gorvy on Instagram, it’s immediately apparent that the Lévy Gorvy partner is a master of narrative, spinning long, anecdotal tomes around the images and artworks that he posts in his feed. Gorvy’s vision and passion for art, and for the stories that surround each of the works that passes through his lens, is almost unparalleled anywhere in the art world, and his move in the past few years towards a gallery position should come as no surprise. Yet Gorvy has plenty more tricks up his sleeve, and his most recent venture, a curated exhibition at his gallery, showcases just how deep his care and skill towards his profession go.
In his first exhibition at the gallery, Gorvy’s selection of paintings, drawings, collages, and sculptures are united under the title Intimate Infinite: Imagine a Journey, and inspired by William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour.”
Intimate Infinite: Imagine A Journey invites visitors into an immersive conversation between artworks and eras, exploring the work of artists who “collapse the vastness of infinity into tangible dimensions through obsessive detail and concentrated mark making, the distilled intensity of small scale, or the tactile materiality of their surfaces.” In its exploration of the sublime, the exhibition unfolds over all three levels of the gallery’s New York City landmark building, and includes nearly one hundred artworks.
Beginning on the gallery’s ground floor, viewers encounter a wall of Robert Ryman paintings, a set ranging different scales and executions that are posed against a similar trio of paintings by Cy Twombly, which include the stunning blackboard work Untitled (1967), the challenging juxtaposition of marks and images call forward a striking interest in the notion of condensed action, posing each artist’s studied movements across their canvases as intricate networks of marks that ultimately dissolve the visual field into a dense flurry of action. By contrast, the second floor presents more sensuous works, stitching together a string of works from the 1960’s and 70’s to explore a more minimalist, conceptual bent. Highlights include the bulging, stitched wall relief of Lee Bontecou’s Untitled (1959), displayed against the inward movement of Jasper Johns’s White Target (1958).
On the third floor, the works turn towards a more expansive, exploratory framework, presenting objects and canvases that present their limits merely as a frame for exploring the fantastic and otherworldly that may exist just beyond their bounds. Works by Yves Tanguy and René Magritte, Joseph Cornell and Lucas Samaras present the self-contained as a space in which the artist is free to create new universes and interlinked notions of the world topped off by a masterful set of seven butterfly collages by Jean Dubuffet—the first time in New York that such a significant assembly will be shown together.
That this vision is complemented by such incredible pieces speaks to Gorvy’s vision and work over the years, his reputation one capable of acting on his impeccable ideas of just how a show might be organized when the the sky is the limit. One can only hope he has more show concepts and ideas on the way.
The show closes October 24th.
— D. Creahan
Intimate Infinite: Imagine A Journey [Lévy Gorvy]